April 8, 2014

Standards of training in gas work

On Tuesday 1st April 2014 new guidance and criteria to improve standards of training in the gas industry was launched by IGEM and Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills).

The Standards of training in gas work document will affect all training providers and new industry entrants to ensure future gas workers are competent and able to uphold highest safety standards.

It is intended that from 1st January 2015 all organisations which offer training for new entrants to the gas industry will be required to follow the guidance and meet the criteria set out in Standards of training in gas work.

After that time new entrants to the industry will only be accepted for Nationally Accredited Certification Scheme for individual gas fitting operatives (ACS) assessment if their initial training has been recognised as meeting the specification contained in Standards of training in gas work.

Such initial training will only be recognised following appraisal by EU Skills, in its capacity as the UK authority on professional development and employment in the energy and utilities industries.

The latest edition of Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) Safety in the installation and use of gas systems and appliances sets out the recognition requirement.

While not law itself, the ACOP has a special legal status meaning employers who do not follow its requirements may face additional difficulties in court cases regarding health and safety breaches.

The ACOP makes clear however that existing gas operatives, or those previously registered will not have to undergo new training. Only new entrants to the industry will be affected.

IGEM’s Technical Services Manager Keith Needham explained the need for Standards of training in gas work:

“For too long the gas industry has relied on a system of training which we believe does not adequately prepare new entrants to the gas industry.

“The safety of homes and businesses is in the hands of these workers and it’s essential to have the confidence they are fully trained and up to speed with the latest developments.

Neil Robertson, Chief Executive of EU Skills, said:

“This is a ground breaking moment for the gas industry, demonstrating the competence of new entrants in the industry is paramount.

“These new standards will provide employers with the confidence that through a robust quality audit process they meet the high standards of training expected across the UK gas industry.”

IGEM will publish regular updates about this work through this webpage, its industry journal Gi and the Flame email bulletin.

For further details please email technical@igem.org.uk or call 0844 3754436.